Leland Neville opens the issue with “A Pain Artist,” the narrator playing a would-be attacker at a Taser (or Taz-2000 in this case) demonstration and sales pitch, a brutal but captivating beginning for this issue, the start of the piece begging readers to continue:
Before YouTube and reality television there was a brief but passionate interest in pain artists. I performed in the cutthroat Rust Belt. Local TV news crews were often present. Men laughed uneasily, women screamed, and children watched open-mouthed. The occasional groupie would even follow me from an Econo Lodge in Buffalo to a Super 8 Motel in Detroit and back again. I posed for photographs and signed autographs. Times really have changed.From there, we take a stop inside a mascot uniform in Jason Half-Pillow’s “Mascot” with enough details that we feel all the discomfort narrator Jasmine feels while she sweats inside the suit, and then we move on to a neighborhood in Potawatomi Rapids after a murder-suicide in “Depository” by Charles Rammelkamp. Although Rammelkamp’s piece works perfectly as flash, it was one of the stories I wished were longer, the writing pulling me in and refusing to let go.
Traveling through the issue, there are commonalities between stories that crop up from time to time. “The List” by Alan Morris and “Saltwater Remedy” by Kathryn H. Ross begin in moments of waking. Cari Scribner’s “Ice and Avalanche” and Kirby Wright’s “Harold & June” look at relationships failed and failing through women’s eyes. These little similarities that appear are enjoyable to find, if only because we’re able to see just how different the pieces and writers are despite the likenesses.
Of course, there are unique differences between all the pieces of flash, but some take it one step further, like Adam Kluger, writing only in dialogue in “The Sixth Floor.” Alex Galvez begins his piece formatted like a recipe and then continues on in a more traditional story format, exploring the connections between language and identity:
The first two ingredients start off whole, pure, organic and untouched. Spanish is harvested first. Both ingredients are force-fed to a child by the name of Aldo, and both ingredients are in harmony.Brilliant Flash Fiction provides a space for writers to take risks with their craft, and the risks pay off.
With a new issue right around the corner, readers have plenty in store at Brilliant Flash Fiction: a streamlined reading experience, splashes of colorful photography, and some of the best flash fiction readers can find on the web.